Until now, your dog might have been your main baby – but with the arrival of a new human sibling for them imminent, all of that will soon change. Whether you are nearing your due date or have decided to start trying to expand your family, it’s natural to feel worried about how your pet is going to react. After all, having a baby is a huge change for everybody involved, including your dog. Making sure that your dog is well-prepared for their new sibling’s arrival in advance will help everything go smoothly and encourage them to become the best of friends.
Invest in Extra Training
If you have just found out that you are expecting, now is a good time to think about investing in some additional behavioural training for your dog. You can take your dog to weekly classes or drop them off at an intensive boarding program to learn superior behavioural and obedience skills, so that you can rely on them to be on their best behaviour once your new baby arrives. A well-trained dog is usually a dog that you can trust, and it will provide you with more peace of mind once your bundle of joy is here. Speak with a professional trainer about any particular behavioural issues that you are concerned about and want to nip in the bud before the baby arrives.
Spend Time With Children and Babies
If this is your first baby, chances are that your dog hasn’t spent a whole lot of time around small humans. It’s a good idea to introduce them to as many young kids as you can to help them adjust to them and get used to the idea of having a baby in the home. Ask to meet up with nieces and nephews, friends of the family, and anyone else you know who has a child who’s happy to spend some time with you and your dog – just make sure that they are supervised constantly.
Put Firm Boundaries in Place
It’s important to get your dog used to the new boundaries in the home in advance of the baby’s birth, so that when the baby arrives, you don’t need to worry about training them and getting them used to the new arrangements along with looking after a newborn. For example, once you have the nursery set up, it’s a good idea to start teaching your dog to stay out of that room using barriers and baby gates so that they are used to the new home boundaries once the baby arrives.
Make Gradual Changes
Chances are that your dog’s routine is going to change once your baby arrives and having so much changing at once can be a massive source of stress for your pet. Because of this, it’s a good idea to start making changes gradually in advance of the baby’s birth to help your dog get used to their new routine. For example, you might have less time to walk your dog once you’ve had the baby, so it’s a good idea to get them used to their new dog walker well in advance.
You may also want to consider dealing with any behavioural issues and improving your dog’s health in advance by switching them to a better diet. Raw food is becoming a more and more popular option – check out these dog food results from Bella & Duke. Their dog food results surveyed over three thousand customers, with over 90% seeing a positive difference in their dog within just a couple of months of making the switch.
Change Sleeping Arrangements
The last thing that you want is for your dog to feel pushed out once the baby arrives. If your dog sleeps in your bedroom with you right now, chances are that you might not want them in there along with the baby once they are born. Before your baby arrives, it’s a good idea to start encouraging your dog to sleep elsewhere to ensure that they are used to the new sleeping arrangements once their new human sibling is here, allowing you to get through the night with fewer disturbances.
Introducing Your Dog and Baby to Each Other
Once your baby arrives, it’s important to take the time to introduce your dog to their new human sibling gradually and carefully. You can do this by first giving your dog something with your baby’s scent on it, such as their blanket from the hospital, before allowing them to meet in person. After the initial meeting is over, spend as much time with both your dog and your baby so that your dog knows that he is still an important part of your life.
Teach your Dog Important Skills
If you want to keep the balance between your dog’s needs and your baby’s care, try to develop effective verbal control over your dog. You can teach your dogs the following skills to catch up with your baby’s movements.
- Teach your dog to wait at doors, stay and settle down. This will help your dog to control its impulses and will prove to be fruitful in innumerable circumstances. For example, if your dog knows when to sit and settle down, it will always stay beside you or your baby whenever you ask them to.
- You may train your dog to leave the baby’s stuff alone by using the two skills of “leave it” and “drop it.”
- Another skill would be, “Greet people formally”. When you are holding the baby, a jumping dog can be irritating at best and dangerous at worst. so, you can teach them to be friendly with others.
- You can control your dog’s behavior around the child by teaching it to leave the room when asked. For instance, if the baby appears uncomfortable and your dog is creeping toward her, you may use this indication to instruct it to leave the area. Many pets are unaware that they can move! But, they will never feel compelled to express their concern by snarling or snapping if they learn that they could simply leave the baby.
Minimize the Attention Time
Resist the urge to give your dog additional attention, when there are only a few weeks left before the baby’s due date, it will only make your dog lonesome, when the baby arrives and takes the spotlight. Instead, start setting out brief moments to play and snuggle with your dog, and gradually offer it less attention throughout the rest of the day. Your dog won’t develop a schedule for receiving attention at a specific time if you schedule your sessions haphazardly.
Make your Dog Adaptive to New Schedule
Anxiety is a common reaction in dogs when their routines are abruptly changed. Even though things will change with the birth of your new kid, you may reduce your dog’s anxiety by getting used to such changes beforehand. With a newborn, life may be chaotic and unpredictably unexpected. It could be beneficial to get your dog used to a less predictable daily schedule. Change the time at which you feed your dog. For instance, if it typically eats breakfast at 7 am., try giving it meals at irregular intervals between 6 am and 9 am. As an alternative, you may use an automated feeder to follow your dog’s usual feeding schedule.
With the right planning and preparation, your dog could become the perfect furry brother or sister for your new arrival. Having a new baby is a big life change, so it’s important to consider how it’s going to affect your dog and ensure that they’re ready too.